The holidays are the toughest time of the year to eat well and stay fit. But model, actress and sports-radio personality Karen McDougal tells RadarOnline.com that you don't need to limit yourself to eating coal from your Christmas stocking! Just follow her five simple strategies to stay on track well into the New Year.
The first rule of thumb is to never gorge in an attempt to save calories for a big holiday party at night.
"The better move is to eat three to five small meals throughout the day," said McDougal. "This will help you make healthier food choices, limit your cravings and boost your body's fat-burning potential."
And when at the holiday buffet table, make sensible choices to limit the damage and maximize the benefit. "Lean proteins (fish, chicken, eggs) and high-fiber foods (avocados, pears, berries) are delicious and lower in bad fats than casseroles and cakes," McDougal noted.
Another good idea is to snack smart.
"You'll have plenty of big meals throughout the holiday season, so keep snacking to a minimum," said McDougal.
But if you do find yourself nibbling?
"Avoid carb-heavy breads or sugary cookies," she said, recommending to load up instead on fresher options, like figs, dates or nuts.
Unfortunately, one of the trickiest holiday dangers to try to avoid are calorie-filled drinks.
"Sodas are packed with sugar or unhealthy sweeteners — and so are cocktails," said McDougal. "If you want to celebrate the season with an alcoholic beverage, limit your intake to one glass of wine, or choose a clear alcohol like vodka, which is low in sugar and has fewer calories than that creamy cup of eggnog."
And the last important rule for slimming down while surviving the holidays is to always be sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate," McDougal told Radar.
"Having a one glass of water in between each cup of holiday cheer will help you keep your wits while everyone is donning lampshades, and will help flush out excess calories," she explained. "Down one more glass of water before bed to wake up fresh and well-rested."
For more on McDougal's advice, follow her on social media:
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Share your own best holiday diet and fitness secrets in the comments section below!